NVIDIA GTC: Innovation Accelerating, Ecosystem Gelling & Opportunity for Human Advancement Exploding
As those who follow my social media handles know (perhaps all too well), I spent last week in San Jose at the Nvidia GTC with Austin-based, GPU accelerated startups BlazingDB and Bitfusion. It was a very short but impactful trip, and now that I’m back in Austin, I’ve had a chance to organize my thoughts. I am excited about the possibilities of #GPUs.
Pace of Innovation Accelerating
Sometimes when we buy a new car or upgrade our phones, the new one seems slightly better, but not massively so. These iterative advances make us feel that the pace of innovation has hit a wall. Such is absolutely not the case in high performance computing. Given advances in new architectures and applications of chips like GPUs, innovation is not slowing but instead accelerating — compute power will increase at a pace of 1.5X of Moore’s Law per Jensen Huang’s Keynote (truly a must watch!). This astounding advance in processing power reminds me of approximately 10 years ago when solid state memory achieved market acceptance and suddenly we had iPhones loaded with every song and every contact we had amassed in our lifetimes. Just like the iPhone advanced the way we communicate, navigate and shop, to name just a few, the GPU coupled with Deep Learning/AI will advance the way we drive autonomous vehicles, interact in virtual worlds where physical borders are simply irrelevant, and discover cures for the most pressing human diseases and environmental concerns.
Collaboration Among Academia, Fortune 100 & Startups Taking Root
Achieving the potential of Deep Learning/AI will not be simple, nor can one entity do so in a silo. This reality brings forth an invigorating time in which the Academics and Data Scientists are suddenly propelled to “Rock Star” status. The Fortune 100 sees the opportunity to advance their product roadmaps but wonder, “how/where to start?”. In come the start-ups, which, unencumbered by legacy and history, defy conformity and press the edges with new solutions that leverage technologies like GPUs .
Magic happens when the pieces come together. NVIDIA’s Inception Program , which currently houses 80 start-ups, demonstrates the company’s commitment to developing a healthy start-up ecosystem. One such offering was a $1.5M purse competition judged by industry titans like Goldman Sachs and Microsoft in categories ranging from Innovation and Social Impact. Programs like these propel start-ups into the global spotlight. Simply put, chip suppliers like NVIDIA need applications to drive sales and use cases. Start-ups like BlazingDB and Bitfusion fill that opportunity and deliver through global enterprises like IBM and Dell. The relationship is symbiotic.
Furthermore, there are few moments more rewarding for a start-up than being included in a conference Keynote. Congrats BlazingDB! Or running demos in the booths of giants like IBM and Dell! Congrats Bitfusion!
Microservices Deliver Democratization of Powerful Tech
In years past, perhaps the Fortune 100 and start-ups wanted to work together, but making the systems communicate was a massive and risky undertaking. This problem has largely been minimized today with the advent of Microservices including trusted Docker containers, Kubernetes and their byproducts such as APIs. Now, we have common language and protocol including standardized deployment setups. This progress coupled with optionality in delivery methods ranging from private data centers or via clouds like Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure or IBM Cloud mean that the architectures can and do work together! As the footprint of startup vendors working with major enterprises has expanded to critical mass, a common vernacular has rolled out. Architecture is no longer a barrier to vendor selection or applications options.
Furthermore, when GPU boxes replace standard CPU boxes in data centers, the compute capability in that same geographic footprint experiences a double digit multiplication effect. Amazing computing power available…
Open-Source is Massively Powerful
The big story of GTC was the launch of the GPU Open Analytics Initiative (GOAI) to accelerate data science on GPUs. If this was the big story, then why did I wait until the end of this post to mention the advancement? Simply, this awesome initiative is still in formation days. This initiative will create an alliance of MapD, BlazingDB, Continuum Analytics, H2O.ai, Graphistry and Gunrock for the seamless flow of data. Given that the initiative is new and global, there is an opportunity for those with strong convictions to take a leadership stand and make impact. As we know from open-source, when there is a single stated mission with contributors from across the globe, humanity thrives. The creativity and ingenuity of those seeking to solve massive problems like reducing pesticide in agriculture to preserve the environment or eradicating cancer via VR imaging bring out the best in humanity. Open-source is a wonderful way to align global resources to these shared missions.
Accelerating innovation, aligned ecosystem and technology democratization are the recipe from great progress. I’m looking forward to playing a role in this cohesive and powerful force.
NVIDIA GTC: Innovation Accelerating, Ecosystem Gelling & Opportunity for Human Advancement… was originally published in Austin Startups on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.
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